Living in Paradise definitely has its perks. We can’t deny our two-a-day pool breaks, scenes from National Geographic outside our front door and the fact that we are supplied with the actual daily amount of vitamin D that the human body needs.
Feel like hiking up a waterfall and taking a swim after? Par for the course here, we call that Tuesday. However, moving to another country definitely presents challenges.
One of the reasons we moved to Costa Rica was to enjoy a simpler lifestyle, to find a balance between work and play.
We spent almost a month here during our travels and did ample research before actually planting some roots. Factors that we considered included cost of living, proximity to family, safety, business opportunities, and of course weather and nature. We knew life moved slower here– but we didn’t realize every single task you try to accomplish is an ordeal.
For example, you can’t just go to one store and buy everything you need. We do have a Walmart, its just three hours away!
This is probably the one thing we took most for granted in the States, convenience.
Grocery shopping in Costa Rica is an all-day affair, and that’s if you’re fortunate enough to have a vehicle. If you don’t want to go broke on groceries, you need to be a savvy shopper and eat local food. You buy your bread from the bakery, your fruits and vegetables from the weekend farmers market, your bulk items and cleaning supplies from the big “super” store outside of town, and the butcher for your meat. If you plan on buying ice cream, you must wait until you are in the checkout line to take it from the freezer and then race home before it turns to soup.
When we moved in to our home, we knew we would have to get cable and internet set up. We also knew it wasn’t going to be a quick phone call. However, we did not know it would take us a full weekend to get an appointment that wouldn’t even happen until the following week. On a Friday, we set out to find the local branch store, but when we entered, we found out they closed for an hour around 10:00 AM with no rhyme or reason. This was very foreign to us, as we know what 10:00 AM means for most companies. We then had to come back a few hours later to see if they had returned to work, only to find out we were unable to get Internet without cable. Luckily, third time was a charm for us and our newest representative offered us exactly what we needed. We all know how much a pain Comcast and Direct TV is, but after spending a few days getting to know CableTica, I’d be more than happy to give Comcast a whirl again.
The moral of the story is that Costa Rica moves at its own pace and fighting it only makes it worse.
It almost seems as though the harder you push, the harder CR pushes back.
Wanting to get something done quickly is a sure fire way to delay the process, but you learn to embrace it. Let me give you an example. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to go to the bank on a Friday, expect at least a 45 min wait. You get a number when you walk in (deli-style) so you have a ballpark idea of about how long it will be. So, instead of sitting there anxiously waiting, we take our number, run some errands, and come back 30 min later with a 5-10 min wait. If our number was called and we missed the boat, no biggie we will grab another number and repeat the process.
We came to Costa Rica seeking a stress free life. We certainly didn’t think everything was going to be easy, but we also didn’t expect simple tasks to be so difficult. Ironically, sometimes the lack of convenience is even more stressful then home but like I said earlier, you learn to deal with it. We believe this experience is going to teach us how to be more patient and not sweat things that are outside of our control, to stop and smell the roses more often if you will. Sometimes all you can do is laugh it off and say “really Costa Rica?!”